"This is the book of life I should have read before leaving university in London.
It's got it all.
Sex, sex tourism, drugs, alcohol, alcoholism, prostitution & suicide.
In my search for sex and sobriety I travel from London to Amsterdam; to San Francisco, California; to Bangkok & Pattaya in Thailand and to Manila, Angeles City & Subic Bay in the Philippines.
Don't end up a loser like me.
Read this book."
- Paul Pisces
Chapter 13: Politie
I get my clap sorted out and Jenny comes over and finds us a big holiday caravan to rent together. I cycle to work and my parents come for a visit. The end of the contract is in sight. It's been hell really and I don't think the system will ever work properly. Fortunately, by the time they start full system testing, I will be long gone. Their decision, not mine.
There's a bit of money in the bank now but it won't last long back in England. Another worry won't leave my mind. Aids. Look, let's face it; I fucked a whore without protection and got the clap. A nice whore, I liked her. But maybe I've got HIV, maybe I've given it to Jenny. I can't get it out of my mind.
Back in England I go to the local VD clinic for a test. They couldn't test me in Holland because it takes six months for the HIV antibodies to show up. It's now been six months since I fucked the beautiful Monica. The day of reckoning is upon me.
The doctor calls me into her office.
"You know how dangerous unprotected sex is don't you?" she begins.
Look, I've got a fucking degree in Biology, bitch, I know everything.
"Yes I have been foolish," I say.
"Well, you're very lucky and you're test is negative, this time."
"Thanks very much." I try hard not to smile. OK. Panic over. Now I need a job.
Back at home with Jenny, I get an unexpected phone call.
"Hi, is that Paul?" a voice asks.
"Well, this is Phil Williams of Imasys in Manchester and I've got a proposition for you." It turns out that a small part of the old UK Philips P6000 business wasn't sold to DEC but was subject to a management buy out. The new company formed in the process is called Imasys and it is based in Manchester. They need somebody for about a year to upgrade the software of all their P6000 customers - about sixty in all. It's a long time since I worked on P6000 but I need the work and the money. We make a deal. One years contract for thirty thousand pounds plus expenses. Not exactly œ25 an hour but it's a buyers market and I'm desperate.
I drive to Manchester and check into the Piccadilly hotel. I live there for around a month until I find somewhere to rent within walking distance of the office. Jenny joins me and we rent out the house in Colchester.
After a year, the contract is complete but Phil has a new offer. Stay in Manchester and work on their new system as permanent staff earning 23K a year. It's a steal. Imasys are fucking me up the arse but they know 3 things:
1) I am old and my skill set is well past its sell by date.
2) I am an alcoholic.
3) 1 & 2 make me virtually unemployable anywhere else.
What is the definition of an alcoholic? My definition is that a user becomes an addict once the body's metabolism has become dependent on the drug. In other words you need the drug to feel normal. Nothing to do with being drunk. If you don't have your drug you become ill. Of course, if you do have your drug you become ill, just more slowly.
I begin work on the 'new' system which is written in Microfocus Cobol. It's already old technology! The system's a dog. Badly written, unreliable, difficult to maintain. This system will haunt me for the next 4 years as I try to plot my escape from Manchester.
After 2 years my drinking is worse and my skin is blotchy under the beard. My scalp has lesions which won't heal. I look a complete wreck. Jenny is fed up and gives me an ultimatum. Either I make a commitment to her and give her a baby or she's going to go back to her parents in Colchester. After five years together that seems reasonable enough, except that I'm an alcoholic with a very uncertain future. Extra responsibility would almost certainly push me over the edge. I decide to have a weeks holiday in Amsterdam to think about it - Jenny goes to stay with her parents for a week.
I am definitely frightened about being on my own - I could marry Jenny just for the stability and the support. I do love her, don't I?
My hotel is a floating 'botel' (a boat hotel) on a canal by Amsterdam's main railway station. It is within walking distance of the red light district. The basic idea for this holiday is to behave badly for a week and then decide if I can sacrifice my freedom for the safety of a permanent relationship.
I am drinking continuously and decide to visit one of Amsterdam's coffee houses to smoke some dope to see if this can replace some of my alcohol consumption. At the coffee house I select something exotic from the menu and light up. When out clubbing, I smoke the occasional cigarette but for some reason I have never become addicted to nicotine (unlike both my parents). Maybe it's my metabolism. I smoke the joint quickly but notice no effect. I order another. Half an hour later, I still feel no different. The pot is expensive and I would rather spend my money on alcohol. I make for the red light area.
A black man approaches me and walks alongside.
"Looking for anything?" he grins.
"Coke, e, hash?"
I think fast. Pot didn't work for me but maybe coke or an e would. If you hadn't guessed, I am still a bit drunk. I am a bit drunk throughout this week.
"Some coke and e's. How much?" I ask.
"What coke and e?"
"Three hundred guilders." (That's about 150 dollars.) He shows me a bag of powder and two tablets. He points to a dark alley where we can do the trade. I ignore this and move into the shadows of the main street. We make the trade and I head for an expensive looking hotel I can see in the distance - I need a drink.
As I walk another black man approaches me.
"500 guilders or I'll call the police," he demands.
"What?" I've already realised what's going on but I am stalling hoping to reach the hotel.
"You've got drugs. 500 guilders or I'll call the police."
I stop walking and look at him.
"Go on then." He wasn't expecting this. He looks at me.
"I'll call the police," he affirms. I just look.
"Politie," he says quietly. It's not very convincing. I begin walking toward the hotel again; I'm nearly there now. The black man gets desperate.
"Politie!" he says. It's almost loud. I drop 50 guilders on the pavement and sprint for the hotel. Over my shoulder I see the man stooping for his money. The doorman opens the door of the hotel as I sprint inside.
"You should be careful of those two," he says matter of fact. He must have
seen the transaction.
"Yes - I worked that out," I reply. In the hotel bar I have a large whisky.
Well, it's cost me a lot of money but I've got my drugs. I decide to go back to my hotel to examine them. Back on the botel, I open the packets. One contains a white crystalline powder, the other two brown chalky tablets. I haven't a clue if it's the real thing. I raid the mini-bar and have another drink. Then I ring my friend Charles who is eight years older than me and has been around a bit. Although he's not a drug user (as far as I know) he may know what to look for.
"Hi Charles, it's me Paul. I'm in Amsterdam." I tell him the evening's story.
On the other end of the phone he's laughing.
"Charles, what should I do with this stuff?" I ask.
"You must be joking," he says.
"What do you mean?"
"The only thing to do with your 150 dollars of stuff is flush it down the toilet. It could be anything."
I think about it. He's right. I thank him for his advice and hang up. Then I go into the bathroom and flush 150 dollars down the toilet.
The next night I decide to get laid. First I go to a bar. The barmaid is a mature but still attractive asian in an extraordinarily tight pair of slacks which leave nothing to the imagination. I sit at the bar, drink whisky and watch her arse as she moves about serving customers and smiling. She's a flirt. Next to me at the bar is an aging alcoholic who makes me look positively healthy. His hands are bandaged to cover sores and his face is bloated with broken blood vessels standing out on his cheeks and an enlarged bloodshot nose. He is slurring and only just conscious. He passes out with his head on the bar. Nobody takes any notice.
I am sipping my whisky when I hear a loud crash. Turning, I see that the drunk has fallen off his bar stool onto the floor and his false teeth have come out. I wonder if he is all right; nobody else takes any notice. I get the distinct feeling that he probably does this every night; he still appears to be breathing. Should I try and help him or should I drink my whisky and go and get laid? I drink my whisky, pay my bill and venture out into the night. Yeah, I know, you'd have helped but then you're a fucking Samaritan.
I wander through the red light district and chat to a few girls in their small glass prisons. In Amsterdam the going rate for a jump appears to be 50 guilders (30 dollars) for about 15 minutes - not much time for foreplay. I try with a couple of girls but in 15 minutes I just can't get going. I am about to give up and go home when a beautiful, petite, Spanish looking girl with long dark hair waves to me. She is in a white bikini with tanned skin and under the red lighting she looks delectable. She must be 19 or 20. She opens her glass door and practically pulls me inside.
"200 guilders. One hour. I very good." She smiles and licks her lips. I nod and she closes the glass door and pulls a curtain across the glass. Her English is not very good but her body is.
She washes my dick in a basin and begins to caress my balls. Soon I am firm
enough for a condom and she begins to lick and suck my genitals. I lie down
on the small bed while she climbs out of her bikini. The bed is firm (like
my dick) and she hops onto the bed and stands over me. Then she squats down
and lowers her pussy onto my dick. Slowly, slowly she bobs up and down,
occasionally stopping to smile at me or kiss my nipples. I just lie back and
enjoy it. Gently she increases pace and I become more aroused. Visually it's
very erotic to see this young tanned girl pleasuring me with her firm body.
I reach a peak and climax. She has worked hard and is sweating lightly from
the exertion. She kisses my nipples again.
"Thank you Daddy," she says. Some girls just know what to say.
I return to the floating botel and raid the mini bar again. My mind is spinning as I try to make a decision. Stability, security and responsibility with Jenny or freedom, insanity and alcoholism by myself. I ring Jenny at home and propose marriage. She's delighted. I am happy. I ring my parents to tell them the news. They are delighted. I am happy. I sleep.
In the morning I have second thoughts. I spend the next two days drinking, sleeping, worrying, thinking and fucking around. It's nearly time for me to fly back to Manchester. There's nothing like making a decision to clarify when the decision you've made is the wrong one. I have made the wrong decision. I have proposed to Jenny because I am frightened of being alone. This is not the basis for a marriage especially when you are an alcoholic in free fall. I ring Jenny.
"Hello darling," the excitement is still in her voice.
"There's no easy way to say this - I've changed my mind."
Silence. A long silence.
"It's not you, Baby, it's me," I say. This is true. She's a lovely girl and I am a madman. Why she wants me I have no idea - I think she's just got used to me.
"Why?" she asks almost crying.
"I don't know. I'm an alcoholic. I can't take the responsibility. I'm sorry."
She's heartbroken and I am a bastard. I ring my parents. They are supportive but don't really understand.
Hindsight: I think I made the right decision in the end. Alcoholics don't
make good partners and can't handle responsibility.
Life tip: Don't marry an alcoholic.
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